Hungry in Hungary – a restaurant recommendation
The Motoroamer’s Restaurant Review
For some people eating is a passion and cooking is a work of art; for others, it’s just a necessary evil. Whichever is true for you, there’s no doubt that seeking out a traditional restaurant is one of the best ways to get a true flavour of another country’s culture.
We don’t eat out often because when you have the luxury of your own home on wheels, eating in is so easy. Although we do love to try local food and experiment with regional delicacies; yet finding a restaurant that serves up authentic fare and not just a tourist designed menu at exorbitant prices, can be hard. Let’s face it we are visitors to a strange land and whilst we may well be armed with the latest Travel Guide, finding a place that suits our budget and our palette can be like looking for a needle in a haystack – especially in the heart of a throbbing city.
So when someone can share their personal insights of an outstanding restaurant with great food and service, then it surely must be done.
Hungry in Hungary
With our flying visit through Hungary and a pit stop at Budapest to rendezvous with friends and family, we were introduced to a restaurant that looked too good to be true. Our research took us to their website that promotes their unique approach to dining, offering traditional Hungarian recipes inspired by Grandma’s family kitchen. And unlike lots of websites that often don’t uphold their promises – The Hungarikum Bisztró most certainly delivered – on all counts. And we liked it so much we went back twice.
So how can I take you on a gastronomic journey that imparts our experiences and inspires you to visit?
Location, Location, Location
Let’s start off by the Bisztró’s location. So you are two streets away from the Danube and the bustling vibrance of cruise boats, ferries and tugs gliding up and down the waterway. You are only four blocks away from the most stunning of Budapest buildings – the Parliament Palace and in the same vicinity you have the M3 Underground Metro, making it position perfect.
Now, I’ll be honest, the building that the Bisztró calls home is not magnificent from the outside and has a very understated feel about it, so your initial reaction is one of caution and uncertainty. A discretely branded sign hangs inconspicuously above the door, giving you little hint to the splendour of what is behind. And then you walk through their entrance…
The minute you enter you are transported into a home-from-home room that feels like it could be your own personal dining room, offering no more than forty covers, yet giving you an immediately intimate feel. You are then struck with panic – will we be able to get a table? Your fears are soon allayed, as the girls study their booking sheet and soon have you sat down, even if you have to wait for just a few minutes. In our two visits, the restaurant was full although no one was ever turned away.
Decorated in comforting autumnal tones of deep red and golden yellows, this delightful restaurant creates a warm ambiance that penetrates your tourist weary souls and you feel this wave of restfulness wash over you. And that’s before you have even looked at the menu of simple Hungarian delights. Red checked cloths grace the tables and bookcases of paprika paste and Hungarian wines decorate the walls – you really do feel at home.
Food, Glorious Food
Then you get your menus, in the language of your choice accompanied by a tablet that shows you each and every plate of food so that they can tantalise your imagination as well as your tastebuds. So the difficulty now is what on earth you will eat. Will it be the crispy leg of duck with Hungarian red cabbage or the plaited pork fillet with paprika sauce and cabbage dumplings? Perhaps it will be the Special Dish of the Day – strips of beef fillet in a traditional goulash style sauce and fried potatoes.
And in that gap between your tantalising expectations and your first mouthful, that is so often filled with an emptiness that has you chewing on your fingernails, the girls come out with a complementary appetiser of delicate chunks of Hungarian bread baked with bacon and a piquant paprika dip that will have you reaching for a glass of wine to dowse the heat building in your mouth. The local wines I’m told are delightful and the beers, I am happy to report are scrumptious.
During our first visit, my greedy ego just wanted to taste everything, so I indulged in a platter of Hungarian tasters of bacon and chorizo styled sausage and breads, which was delightful. Although, as so often is the case, my eyes were too big for my tummy and by the time the main course arrived with big smiles and a warmth of your closest friend, I was already quite full. Although nothing was going to stop me from enjoying the deliciousness of my crispy duck. It was heavenly, as was each and every meal on our table. Simplicity and hearty plates of food draw you in seductively to their regional charm.
And with satiated appetites, the girls finally bring you a complementary glass of Grappa; a blast of fire water that alights your mouth with an explosion of taste, rounding off this divine restaurant experience with a sensory finale.
We must not go without a mentioning István and his team; both behind the scenes in the all-important the kitchen and the front-of-house. The food is cooked with loving care and consistency and it is delivered by a team of angels. They treat you, not like visitors or tourists, they engage with you like friends and there is a sense of their desire to give you a great experience. The team is picked with care and they each uphold the restaurant’s values that puts authentic cooking and service as its priority.
So as you leave the sanctuary of this friendly and warm restaurant back into the buzz of Budapest, you take with you memories of gastronomic delights in your belly and an eating experience that goes deep into your heart, however you happen to feel about food. This is one place that not only promotes the tastes of Hungary, it also represents Hungarian’s hospitality perfectly and we implore you to put this on your Budapest tour.
You arrive as hungry visitors and you leave as friends of Hungary.
Address: 1051 Budapest, Steindl Imre Utica, 13, (47.503462 19.048057)
Telephone number for recommended reservations: 36 30 661 6244.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hungarikumbisztro or their direct website www.hungarikumbisztro.hu